Am I dealing with early onset Alzheimers?
All jokes aside, I spent a little more time contemplating those years and eventually the only events that came to mind were losing my grandmother to lung cancer, my cousin being murdered, and then losing my job. What a downer!
Just like when Jill sang about taking her freedom, putting it on a chain and wearing it around her neck, that is exactly how I feel about happiness. One of my highest priorities is to never compromise my joy, and to do what I want to do, when I want to do it (all within reason, of course). As Eveline commanded in The Wiz, "Don't nobody bring me no bad news."
I understand that this can be a selfish way to live in the world, turning a blind eye to the perils that surround me, but that is a judgment that I am willing to face in the name of preserving my sanity. For example, my most recent relationship ended, for the most part, because I could not help him bear his sadness and I began to tumble into my own depression. As soon as those feelings from my mid 20s came back, I had to pull out. And though sometimes I look back and wonder if there was anything I could have done to save the relationship, I have to admit that my own personal happiness is much more important than being a miserable girlfriend.
Thankfully, growing older has naturally resulted in growing much wiser. Though the circumstances that led to my earlier depression were out of my control, I have learned to keep myself out of disappointing, stressful, and somber situations that I can control, by recognizing the red flags and staying the hell away from them:
- I try to spend little to no time with people who complain a lot, wallow in excuses, judge excessively, or have no sense of humor.
- If a friend hurts me more than once, whether intentional or not, we are no longer friends
- If I meet a guy who immediately shares every grief-stricken event in his life, I RUN (and yes, I've met men who do this as early as the first phone call)
- I try not to care too much about things outside of my control. If it doesn't concern my family or my immediate well-being, I wont allow myself to stress over it
- If my heart isn't in it, I'm not doing it.
- On the flip side, if my heart is into it, I'm doing it ALL THE TIME. That's why I'm always either in Target, engrossed in a book, drinking margaritas over girl talk with my friends, pampering myself, exercising regularly, eating tacos, dancing to live music from my favorite artists, getting pretty, and most importantly, working towards my dreams.
I'm about that happiness life, by any means necessary. Even though I sometimes wish I'd adopted this policy during my younger years to save myself a lot tears, struggle, and irritation, I feel like now is much, much better than never.
Ever fallen into a depression due to circumstances out of your control?
What do you do to keep yourself happy?